As things currently stand, if the Crookston City Council wants to overturn an action taken by the Park Board, it takes a "super-majority" vote of the council. Specifically, seven out of the eight council members have to vote in favor of the override.
Things might not stand like that much longer, however, after the city Ways & Means Committee this week – a committee comprised of the entire council – endorsed starting the process with City Attorney Chuck Fitzgerald to get the super-majority requirement changed to a simple majority.
"We're just trying to make this more in line with normal procedures," Mayor Dave Genereux said.
In other words, no other action taken by a city board or commission comprised of appointed members requires a super-majority vote of the council to be overturned. Council members believe the park board should be no different.
"It's about consistency; that's the only reason this was brought up," Ward 3 Council Member Keith Mykleseth said. "It has nothing to do with the park board doing a good job or a bad job."
"We have elected officials here and appointed boards," Ward 1 Council Member Tom Jorgens added. "Clearly, the elected officials should be in charge."
It's not like the super-majority issue has come up a lot in the past. In fact, it's been almost non-existent. The only time – or at least the most recent occurrence – anyone could remember the council overriding a park board action was during the process of naming Crookston Sports Center. The park board approved Crookston Area Sports Center, and the council, in a super-majority vote, nixed that in favor a name for the new facility that didn't include "Area."
At-Large Council Member Bob Quanrud was the lone vote against the motion to require only a simple majority vote of the council.
"My only thought is that this is why we have the park board, which does a lot of important work. If someone doesn't want something, I don't want this to be the avenue where they bring it to us and we overturn it," Quanrud said. "I don't want the park board to feel like every time they do something there's a good chance it's going to come back here. If it's so rare, why are we even introducing this? It seems to work the way it is if you've hardly ever overturned anything."